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Monday 2 November 2015

The gamble of pitting your wines against the best in the world

It takes considerable chutzpah – and extreme faith in the quality of your own wines – to offer sommeliers, wine buyers and media the chance to taste them blind alongside some of the finest wines in the world.

The absolute worst-case scenario is that your wines look second-rate alongside the big names, which would be a major PR fail.

Fortunately for Voyager Estate, the stand-out Margaret River winery, their chardonnays compared very well to those in a recent line-up at Melbourne's excellent Botanical that included the great Burgundy Coche-Dury 2012 Meursault, Neudorf 2012 Moutere from New Zealand and Tasmania's excellent 2012 Tolpuddle Vineyard.

And in a cabernet sauvignon bracket that featured the likes of 2011 Chateau Pontet-Canet and 2004 Chateau Cos d'Estournel, along with big names from California, Tuscany and Chile, the Voyager wines again more than held their own.

The Voyager Estate Masterclass 2015, which has become an annual event, was hosted by winemakers Steve James and Travis Lemm, and was a gamble that paid off; highlighting Voyager's spot as a global premium producer.

The Voyager 2012 Estate Chardonnay ($45) was one of the stars of the show, lean and linear; all fresh fruit and concentration (think grapefruit, nougat and nectarine) with restrained oak. It was a world-class wine at a fraction of the price of some of its rivals.

The Voyager Estate Old Block ($90) was one of the highlights of the cabernet bracket, with length, power, drive and elegance. For me it was second only to a superb Pontet-Canet ($295). 

There were also some impressive Project Block (limited release) cabernets on show. 

Incidentally, if you are lucky enough to be travelling to Margaret River, Voyager, with its remarkable Cape Dutch architecture, really should be on your list. The wines are outstanding across the entire range, the gardens fabulous, the cellar door excellent and the restaurant superb.

The winery was founded in 1978 as Freycinet Estate and purchased in 1991 by the late mining magnate Michael Wright - who was ironically a teetotaller. It is today regarded among Margaret River's winery jewels, alongside Vasse Felix, Cullen and Leeuwin Estate. 

Voyager Estate, Stevens Road, Margaret River. +61 8 9757 6354.

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